Violent star formation

Executive summary 

Understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies is now, more than ever, possible due to the proliferation and variety of air borne and ground based observing platforms with highly sensitive instrumentation now coming into operation, which allows us to peek into epochs when the universe was starting to teem with stars. However, a proper interpretation of these variegated data sets is not possible without a sound knowledge of the detailed physics underlying the main energizing building blocks of these galaxies: the massive stars in their cradles, and how these interact via chemical, mechanical and radiative feedback with their environment. It is needed then to study from the evolution of single massive stars to that of massive galaxy-wide dominating starbursts, and from our local universe to the first observable stages of massive star and galaxy formation. For this purpose, we shall develop our research into the following topic lines: Stellar Populations Modeling (including probabilistic synthesis models), photoionization modeling of violent star forming regions, study of Star Clusters in star forming regions and the role of Starburst and AGNs in the evolution of galaxies.

Scientific objectives

  1. To characterize the properties of star formation in stellar clusters, ranging from small clusters to Super Stellar clusters. The studies will be performed by the analysis of stellar populations with evolutionary synthesis models.
  2. To study the ionization structure of photoionized regions, both from the theoretical (studies of deviations from assumed case B, 3D photoionization codes, study of stellar population sampling effect in the emission line spectra) and observational points of view (spatially resolved observations of the ionization structure with integral field spectrographs).
  3. To characterize the physical and chemical properties of extragalactic HII regions, blue dwarf , ring, cometary and starburst galaxies in two spatial dimensions using integral field spectroscopic data. This will be used to study the cosmic evolution and statistical variance of the metallicity-mass-luminosity relation, reaching up to the lower mass star-forming galaxies.
  4. To study the effects on evolutionary synthesis models of taking into account both the observational errors and the intrinsic probability distributions of the emission of an ensemble of stars.
  5. To develop a new evolutionary synthesis code combining the most up to date high spectral resolution stellar libraries and stellar tracks. They will applied to the analysis of stellar populations of Starbursts and star forming regions, obtained from 2D data (VIMOS at the VLT, PMAS at CAHA). The code will be also extended to analyze the SED of star forming regions in galaxies.